Please say a prayer for my 97-year-old father, who died at 12:15pm yesterday (Sunday). I was finishing the Nicene Creed at Mass — the words expecto resurrectionem mortuorum (“I hope for the resurrection of the dead”)—when Dad breathed his last in Pennsylvania.
Although my father had stopped attending Mass when it stopped being in Latin, he never stopped saying grace in Latin every night at the dinner table. He had picked up Marxism at Columbia University in the 1950s, but it wasn’t Karl Marx that eroded his faith in the Catholic Church. It was the college girls in mini-skirts distributing Holy Communion at our local parish that led him into agnosticism.
That was 1971, and he did not receive Holy Communion again until 2014. Dad was in the hospital with pneumonia, and a priest chaplain stopped by to offer the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. Dad accepted, and from then on received the sacraments every month at home. I am forever grateful to the hospital chaplain who brought him back to the sacraments, as well as the parish priests who heard his confessions and administered Holy Communion to him over the years.
Mom always said that Dad’s faith was weak because he had never been confirmed. At age 93 Dad agreed to be confirmed by the local parish priest, with Mom as his sponsor. Two years later she died, holding his hand, after 68 years of marriage. Mom died 18 months ago as I was about to begin the 11:30 Sunday Mass, and Dad died yesterday as I was offering that same Mass. What more could Catholic parents ask but that they die as their son is offering the Holy Sacrifice at the Altar? What more could I ask but that my father die a few hours after having received the sacraments from the local parish priest?
Requiescant in pace. Amen.
From Father Illo’s blog. Father is the pastor of Star of the Sea in San Francisco.
Hospital chaplains are little-acknowledged foot soldiers of the Lord. There are, to my knowledge, no statues erected to them and no churches named for them, but there are uncounted souls whom they have drawn from the trenches through their simple presence bearing Christ’s light.
Father, I am sorry for your loss. I will offer my rosary today for your father. God bless him and you!
A warming reflection on two quiet lives now complete, showing the true strength we humans achieve if we are faithful to beliefs Father presents so well.
“College girls in mini-skirts kept him away from Holy Communion? His faith was weak indeed!
No. His father’s beloved faith was betrayed by corruption in the Church. Since the late 1960s, I have walked out of disrespectful Masses, and have gone to another Mass at another church, that shows respect for God.
“His faith was weak indeed!” Or maybe it was strong in some aspects. Consider what Padre Pio would have thought of these young ladies. He would have none of this worldly attire, and he would roll over in his grave over carnally clad eucharistic ministers in our day. The minister of communion is representing the Church, and indeed, Christ Himself in a way. His father must have had a very acute sense of this, and was scandalized.
A beautiful story! God bless Fr. Illo and the soul of his recently-deceased father!
i’m praying for the repose of your parents’ souls, Father. They were very blessed to have you as son.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual Light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen
May they and all the faithful departed rest, rest in peace.
May the souls of Fr. Illo’s parents, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Around thirty-two years ago a Catholic chaplain at a Catholic hospital gave me the Sacrament of Healing for the first time when I went for cancer treatment. Both he and I are still alive, and the last time I saw him I reminded him and said, “It worked!”, and we both laughed. Needless to say, we both have much lighter hair now. (Laughter.)
God bless all faithful Catholic chaplains and priests, including Fr. Illo.
God bless you, Anne TE. Glad you were blessed to be healed of cancer. May you be blessed with good health and longevity.
Thank you. When my time comes, I hope I will have “fought a good fight and kept the Faith until the end.”